Qazigund -Baramulla railway line to be completed by mid 2008

Azad dreams railway line between Srinagar-Muzaffarabad

Reyaz Ahmed, NAK

Baramulla : The prestigious Qazigund -Baramulla railway line will be completed by the middle of next year. This was disclosed to State Union Minster for Railways R Value who was accompanied by Chief Minster Ghlum Nabi Azad to Baramulla town to take stock of the pace of work going on at Kwajabagh Jetty railway station, here today.

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Talking to media persons, Azad said that the work on the prestigious rail project is in full swing and government has a priority to provide employment to the local youth.

Having Srinagar-Muzzafarabad road parallel to railway line in Barmaulla, Azad said, "I hope one day the railway line will connect Muzzafarabad with Srinagar which will usher peace and tranquility in the state".

Officials informed Azad and R.Value that survey for Barmaulla Kuwapra railway line has been completed and the sanction is awaited from center.

In Valley, the 120-km-long rail line between Qazigund and Baramulla is almost complete and trial runs will begin soon in the mid of next year and specially designed trains will be chugging in the valley on a broad gauge line, a railway official told News Agency of Kashmir.

The official informed that work on other sections in Kashmir is also going on fast. These include the 25-km-long treacherous stretch between Udhampur and Katra and the 150-km stretch between Katra and Qazigund, which will have the world's highest bridge – 359 metres from the ground. The trains will also pass through an 11-km-long tunnel.

The official also said that work on four railway stations is underway in Baramulla and 3569 kannals of land has been acquired from the people who have been paid Rs 74 crore as compensation.

The railway official further said, "Srinagar, Badgam, Kakapore and Pampore stations are ready with beautiful wooden carvings done by local artisans. The architecture of the station buildings blends with that in other parts of the Valley".

The Valley train has a specially designed 1,400-horse power engine and an auxiliary engine that will generate heat to keep the engine and its lubricants from freezing. It will also pump hot air into the coaches to keep passengers warm. The railways have also developed its own snow cutting "cattle guard" for the engine so that the train runs in sub-zero temperatures without any problem.

The main engine has a sleek aerodynamic profile with fibre reinforced plastic. The driver's cabin will be provided with a single glass screen to give a wider view. Along with "cab heating," the driver's screen has an inbuilt de-snowing and de-fogging unit.

The Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala has developed the "snow-cutting type cattle guard", to clear snow from tracks during winter. "This will enable the train to run even in the absence of snow-cutting machines," said another senior Northern Railway official.

Each coach has a capacity to seat 90 persons. Each coach has a 900-mm wide door to enable easier entry and exit, officials told NAK.

They will also have sliding doors like the ones in the Delhi Metro. The coaches have roof-mounted heating units, necessary during the severe winters.

The heating units will keep the temperature at a constant level of 20 degrees Celsius. The windows will be wide, made of unbreakable splinter proof polycarbonate sheet, to provide a "breathtaking panoramic view of the Kashmir valley," the railway official added.

The coaches have been provided with pneumatic suspension for better riding comfort and fitted with executive chair cars with fire resistant grade upholstery and a reclining mechanism. The coaches will have a public information system with display and automatic announcement features just like the Delhi Metro.